Benny’s Birthday

Today our chocolate bundle of perpetually damp chaos is a year old. Whew, we survived Benny’s puppyhood! He’s a fully formed dog that requires no more training!

Now that you’re done laughing at my cute naivete, let’s review Benny’s year, shall we? He spent the first two months with his mom and litter mates of course, learning about grass, cats, eventually even opening his eyes. Then he met us, the Morse’s, and chose us to go home with us by the simple fact of being the pup to hang out with us the longest. His first month with us is a bit of a sleepless blur, but I do know quite a few smiles and sunshine and goofiness returned to our household with his arrival.

During his first formative months with us, Benny went through a stage of hating the car, which was a bummer but easily remedied with several trips through various drive-thrus. Hamburgers and Pup Cups are powerful motivators for Labradors. It was around this time that we found Benny’s main motivation in life, that being water. All of the water, all of the time. That and balls. And meeting new people. And back to balls. Jump in the river! Roll in the disgusting puddle!

His first camping trip was almost a disaster, due to his mother forgetting his food and getting rolled by a horse, but in the ways of puppies he survived and loved it and managed to get dirt over everyone at some point. A few months later he was able to start coming on slow, short rides with the horses and he fit right in, the challenge being not overdoing it. We also tried an AKC GCC prep class and failed, due to the natural and totally uncontainable exuberance upon meeting new people. I wanted a happy, people oriented dog, so folks on trails that see a loose Lab running by are more likely to be happy about it, which has so far proven true except for one time. However, this means that he is, as of his first birthday, incapable of meeting new folks calmly, with his butt on the ground. He has progressed from leaping for folk’s faces and instead usually ends up on his back, wiggling around at their feet.

His current habits including laying in wait when he hears the school bus’s exhaust brakes and leaping for his kid’s face and chewing on his ear (why dog, why child, just, why?) He also tries to sneak into everyone’s showers and baths, which he sucks at because subtly is not in this dog’s nature. When he feels neglected, he’ll randomly huff and throw himself on the floor, causing the entire house to shake. He’s only lost one ball (which I threw over a fence, oopsie). He keeps trying to move his lunchtime walk earlier and earlier, mainly by sitting right behind me as I work and staring a hole in the back of my head. He follows the horse around just like Cyrus did when I’m in the ring…although he gets zoomies and Tarma’s learned to tolerate him, including rolling when he’s sprinting around her…or running underneath her and whacking her with a stick when she’s trying to drink from a stream. Best mare!

Everyone who’s loved and lost a dog understands how hard it was to loose Cyrus how we did, and he will always be our Very Good Dog. Benny is so different in all the right ways, but so similar in the way that counts: He’s our Very Good Pup. I’m so glad I didn’t give into my hesitancy over getting our first puppy stop us. Of course we have some training holes and yes, he’s quite spoiled as my mom pointed out. He doesn’t always live up to the Chocolate Menace nickname…but always the Labradork!

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After years of borrowing horses, working to ride and catch riding, I finally have my own horse, a spicy chocolate mare...but also a demanding day job (who doesn't?), a nerdy husband, a soccer loving kid who needs to be parented (by me, duh), and the ultimate trail buddy, a chocolate Labradork!

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